Star Trek: The Animated Series was a strange experiment in bringing more adult-themed adventure programming in the animated world, back when it happened in the early 70s. You might assume it was the result of someone who didn’t understand Star Trek thinking that it was kids stuff, but somehow the animated series avoided being a totally dumbed down version of the show. It was an interesting, side trip into the Trek universe at a time when there was no actual live action Star Trek out there for fans to consume. A time a lot like now.
Paramount’s Star Trek team is taking its sweet time about getting another movie done, and there hasn’t been Star Trek on television since Enterprise was cancelled exactly six years ago. I’d call that a drought. The answer to that drought could be the same as it was back in the seventies: Paramount has been talking about making a new Star Trek animated series.
Responding to a tweet from TrekMovie, Star Trek writer Bob Orci revealed on his twitter feed tonight that he’s been talking about putting together an animated Trek. Just exactly who he’s been talking to about this remains a little unclear, based on the context of the conversation it’s either something he’s been mulling over with his Star Trek co-writer Alex Kurtzman, or it’s something he and Alex have actually been talking about with Trek rights-holders Paramount and CBS. Either way, I like the thought process.
Bottom line, even if they actually do get around to making another movie, Star Trek really needs to get back on television. Live action hasn’t really worked, but animation could. Here’s the best thing about doing animation: They could actually set the thing in the original series, in the same way the 1973 animated series was. Maybe even draw the characters to look like the original actors who portrayed them. Give me William Shatner’s young Kirk. Spock should always be played by Leonard Nimoy. Resurrect DeForest Kelly and James Doohan to play Dr. McCoy and Scotty in animated form.
Let those characters live on forever, and I’m a happy Trek fan, as long as they gear it towards adults and use this as a way to do smart science fiction. The possibilities are endless. This needs to happen.
If you’ve never seen the original Trek: Animated Series CBS actually makes most of the 22 episodes available online for free. The animation is actually fairly impressive for the 70s and the quality’s been cleaned up for the series’ recent DVD release. Check them out here.